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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway youth honoured with cross-channel Player of the Year award

John McIntyre

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Galway soccer player Aaron Connolly who is celebrating on the double this week.

A talented Galway soccer player has been chosen as the Premier League 2’s – the English top flight’s U23 equivalent–  Player of the Year.

And in a further boost to the career of Aaron Connolly, he has been included in the Ireland U21 squad for the upcoming Toulon Tournament.

Connolly, who has been in fine form at club level this season, missed the most recent European Championship qualifier with Luxembourg through injury.

The 19-year-old Brighton forward enjoyed a terrific first half to the campaign — scoring 11 goals and creating two assists in 15 league appearances.

On the final day of the January transfer window, the former Mervue United player went on loan to Luton Town for the remainder of the season, but a hamstring injury restricted him to just two appearances for the League One champions.

However, his exploits for the Seagulls have earned him this individual award as the reserve division’s best player.

Connolly saw off competition from eight other players on the shortlist, including fellow Irish teenagers Adam Idah of Norwich City and Southampton midfielder Will Smallbone.

“It’s a good personal achievement,” said the Ireland under-age international. “If someone told me at the start of the season, I would have laughed at it. It’s just been an unbelievable season — personally and for the team.

“I think I have to see myself pushing on to the first team here. I think that’s everyone’s ambition if you’re in the academy here.

“I want to play for the first team at Brighton. If not that, hopefully I can play for a first team somewhere else permanently. But right now my ambition is to play for this first team.

“Hopefully I can do that in the next few years,” added Connolly.

He has also impressed on the international front since moving to the Premier League just over two years ago.

The 18-year-old has lined out for both the Ireland U17s and U19s, with Connolly scoring seven goals in six games during qualifying for the Uefa European U17 Championships two years ago.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Mixed reaction to plans for restaurant, bar, retail units and apartments

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The City Council has sought further information from developer proposing to build a restaurant and gastro-bar, retail units and apartments at the Clybaun Road roundabout in Knocknacarra – citing concerns about implications for road users and the future upgrade of the junction.

In the application currently before the Council, Highcross Developments has sought permission to construct a “mixed use neighbourhood centre” ranging from three to four storeys at the site off the roundabout – the development of which will require the demolition of an existing derelict two-storey house.

It is proposed that the basement of the building will house a cellar, toilets, refuse areas, storage and ancillary services.

The ground floor of the development would comprise of two retail units and a gastro-bar – described as slightly smaller than the ground floor bar in Tom Sheridan’s.

The first floor is to be the location of a “stylish and generously proportioned” restaurant, while the second, third and fourth floors would consist of six apartments made up of four 3-bedroom and two 2-bedroom units.

The Council has now sought the submission of a Road Safety Audit that addresses: the traffic and transportation concerns raised by third party observations and objections; and the implication on proposals of the likely upgrade of the existing roundabout to a signalised traffic light junction.

Planners have also invited the developers to “consider a rationalisation of materials” – raising questions about the “climatic robustness” of the timber in the proposed finishes.

Highcross is part the same group that owns and operates a number of high-profile bars and restaurants in the city, including Brasserie on the Corner; Sonny Molloy’s and the Front Door; Tigh Nora; The Dáil Bar; and Tom Sheridan’s in Knocknacarra.

The proposal includes for 72 car parking spaces; bicycle parking spaces; a new vehicular entrance from the Western Distributor Road; a vehicular exit onto the Clybaun Road; and additional pedestrian connectivity to the public roads around the site.

In a letter to city planners, Highcross Managing Director John Mannion stated that this development aims to provide “a new high-end, local produce restaurant for the community of Knocknacarra and surrounding areas”, an area he said had in excess of 20,000 residents.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway duo join Irish team off to 45th WorldSkills finals in Russia

Denise McNamara

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Two Galway men are set to represent Ireland at the 45th WorldSkills Competition in Russia showcasing their talents in two very different fields.

Hotel management student Ruairí Grealish from the city and apprentice plumber Jack O’Donnell from Tiernea, Lettermore will be among 17 young Irish apprentices, trainees and students taking part in the event, which is known as the Skills Olympics. They will be up against 1,600 competitors from 63 countries taking part in 56 skills categories.

After taking the national title in the category of restaurant service, Ruairí has been training for months to prepare for the world’s largest education and skills competition, which is broken down in four different categories – fine dining, banqueting, bar/barista and casual dining.

For one task, he has to prepare a salad, a main course of Beef Strogonoff and dish up a cheese plate as well as serving wine to guests.

Another element involves designing a signature alcoholic coffee as well as creating a flambée – which is a dessert with alcohol cooked in a pan over a flame in front of diners.

Ruairí undertook the degree course at the Shannon College of Hotel Management that includes a year studying commerce at NUIG after working from a very young age in the hospitality industry – his parents Paul and Mary Grealish own the iconic King’s Head pub and restaurant on High Street.

“I’m training for the summer five days a week, 8.30am-5.30pm in Shannon College and then I’ve been doing placements at the weekends in Adare Manor and Waterford as well as doing bar and barista courses and we’ve had three team training weekends to learn how to deal pressure and nerves,” he explained.

“You do test projects on what you’re being tested on but there’s a rule of thumb that things can change by 30% so you really have to be prepared.”

Jack O’Donnell had almost finished his apprenticeship straight out of school with Terence McDonagh Plumbing and Heating in Tully when he was encouraged by his lecturers to enter the competition.

“We were put in front of this big long wall and had to plumb up basins, cylinders – all the things you would have to do in a house – they’re testing your speed and accuracy,” explains the 22-year-old.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Merlin Park theatres approved

Enda Cunningham

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The HSE has finally been given the green light for the construction of new operating theatres for Merlin Park Hospital – nearly two years after existing theatres were shut down due to a leaking roof.

At the moment, there are more than 6,900 people on inpatient and outpatient waiting lists at Galway’s two public hospitals – including around 2,000 people waiting for hip and knee replacements, as well as spinal, ankle and shoulder surgeries at Merlin Park.

Consultant surgeons at the hospital described the waiting list as “catastrophic” and warned that patients are clinically worsening as they wait to be admitted for surgery.

The planning decision by Galway City Council last week comes almost two years after a leaking roof at the hospital saw the existing theatres building shut down, although one of them subsequently reopened following refurbishment works.

The plans involve the construction of a new 613 square metre modular building and link corridor to the main hospital building to replace the existing to theatres, which the HSE has described as “no longer fit for purpose”.

There will be two orthopaedic theatre suites and supporting each theatre will be an anaesthetic room, pre and post-operative recovery rooms, staff changing, toilet facilities and storage.

According to documentation filed with the City Council, the building – despite use of the term ‘modular’ – will be a permanent structure, and elements of it may be constructed off site “to facilitate the rapid delivery of this essential healthcare facility”.

“An orthopaedic theatre by its very nature must be a substantial solid structure to meet the strict criteria for this clinical use, therefore a significant degree of permeance is required, in excess of 20+ years.

“The current adjacent hospital building has four operating theatres, however, only two of these are in regular use. The current theatres are more than 40 years old and no longer fit for purpose, mainly due to space constraints – it is intended that the new theatre facility will replace the existing obsolete theatres.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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